Archive | Health RSS for this section

Bappy hirthday to me!

Today, I turn 29! Again… 😉

Actually, I really love being in my thirties. I feel a bit more settled and at home in me, and long for this to only increase with age.

As I always seem to be on here apologizing for my delay in posting or for taking months off, it’ll be no surprise to read “I’m sorry!” again – and I am. I can’t seem to express in words just how ill I’ve been. I could be wrong, but I believe I mentioned seeing a naturopathic physician, and just being fed up with the medical system in general. Ok, so I promise I won’t turn this into a venting session, but lets say that the last several years of me not feeling well, but nothing showing up on tests, has left me feeling more than a little crazy, honestly. Now this wonderful new doctor runs tests and finds SO much wrong. I know I should probably be upset, but I’m just happy it means I’m not (entirely) crazy! It’s been a long, rough journey with the last couple of months not being an exception, but today, on my birthday, I’m actually starting to feel better. I’m not ready to shout this out on top of rooftops yet, but a whisper will suffice. It’s a really nice gift!

I’ll probably be gone for a bit longer, but I do have a few recipes to post – some yummy, some… not as much, but that’s what you get for trying out recipes, right? Right!

So here’s leaving you with wishes for a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year, spent with those you hold dear!!

xoxo
Heather

::Happy Celebrating::

Red lips

Yesterday I decided to be someone else.  I decided not to be a licensed esthetician and instead, to quote No Doubt, “just a girl.”  I’ll explain…

Having recently run out of some make-up, and not caring too much until now as I’ll be in a wedding this weekend, I stopped by a local department store to try out some new make-up.  I just sat there while this nice girl talked about serums, and foundation, etc.  It was fun.  I said “neat!” and “wow!” when required of me (and because I meant it) while never giving away that I already knew this.  Maybe you’re thinking this is some sort of weird ego boost, to sit there thinking “haha, I already know this stuff!” but really, it was relaxing.  I need relaxing these days.  I just switched things off in my head and let myself get slightly pampered.

Bonus, I left with finally (after a bajillion years of looking) a lovely shade of red lipstick for me – having fair olive skin, it’s been quite a challenge.  Not sure if any of you out there can relate.

image

sorry, wiped - though, I love how it almost 
looks like I'm underwater.

Plus, having made it through the first four seasons of Mad Men hasn’t been helping my red lipstick “dilemma” as I’ve been wanting it more.  There are red lips all over the place!  And to think, when I thought of the 60’s before, it was always about hippies and peace.  I was missing out on so much style!

Well, that’s about it for now.  I have my dear, sweet friend’s wedding this weekend, as well as my nephew’s 2nd birthday party.  Fun stuff!

I’ve tried out a few more recipes to post, but I’ve been under the weather lately and am currently going through a gauntlet of tests courtesy of my good new naturopathic Dr.  So, I’ve been needing to rest a lot more (hence four seasons of Mad Men! lol).

I’ll post more soon, I hope.  Until then….

::Happy Searching::

 

::Low Carb Recipes:: Eggs in Bacon Cups and Cauli Tots

Thankfully for me, that even when my weekends are over-booked, I have time to experiment with recipes I’ve found, on Thursday evenings.

Both recipes below I found online, but the egg and bacon recipe was just listed on pinterest without a link (if you can help me give the person credit, I’d appreciate it).  The cauli tots I found on pinterest too, but it linked to this great blog, I Breathe… I’m Hungry.  From what I can tell, she just started “low carbing” this year, and I’m really impressed with her recipes so far.

Eggs in Bacon Cups

1 package of Bacon (I only used 12 strips)

9 Eggs

1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream *optional

Cheese *optional

Salt and Pepper to taste *optional

:: Preheat the oven to 375

:: Using a muffin pan, line with bacon strips.

::  Pour in Eggs or Egg mixture (Eggs with Cream and/or Cheese)

:: Bake for 30-35 mins.

{I cut the bacon strips in half, making it easier to line the muffin pan}

{finished product!}

I’d like to have shown you the finished product on my plate, but I scarfed it down.  Not ALL of the “muffins”, mind you, but it was getting late and I needed to move onto my next recipe.

While I have a very strict rule about not eating at least three hours before bedtime (even though I have an evening pt job 5 days a week that uses up a lot of energy, it’s not hard to do), it just didn’t work last night.  One of my roommates unexpectedly needed the oven, so I had to wait, and was so starving by the time I came home.  I had also made spinach to go with these to maybe make it more quiche-like, but I ate the cooked spinach (yum!!) while these were in the oven.  Something to try next time!

Oh, and no fancy ingredients!!

:: So… would I make this recipe again?  Damn skippy! (that’s a “yes!”)

———————————————————————————————————-

Onto the last recipe from last night, Cauli Tots, from this blog post.

This one took a lot more time, but if you’re in the mood for Tots, and you have to have an low carb approach to it, this is the way to go.

In my hungry haste and tired state, I made several mistakes with these, but they still came out ok.  I’ll tell you the changes I made to the recipe, and what I would do differently next time.  First, here’s the recipe:

Makes: at least 50 ???

Recipe Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower
2 Tbl heavy cream
2 Tbl butter
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
4 egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying

Clean and trim the cauliflower, adding the florets to a microwave safe bowl.  Add the cream and butter to the bowl.  Microwave for 5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and cheese to a magic bullet or food processor  and blend until still chunky – kind of like a cooked oatmeal consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill for at least half an hour.  Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak.  Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture to lighten it up.  Then fold the cauliflower mixture into the rest of the egg whites and gently mix until combined.  For best results, chill for another half hour or they won’t hold their shape as well.  Fit a pastry bag with a round or star tube with about a 3/4 inch opening.  Spray the inside of the bag with nonstick spray.  Gently squeeze out 1 inch sections onto a greased cookie sheet, cutting with a butter knife as you go.  When finished, bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or longer if you’re skipping the frying) until puffed and slightly browned.  Remove from the oven and serve – or heat 1/4 inch of oil in a saute pan and when it’s very hot add the tots.  It doesn’t need long, a minute per side to turn them golden brown and crispy.  Serve immediately.  These are still tasty after they cool but they start to lose their crunch only minutes after they come out of the oil so if crunch is what you’re after, eat them right away!  So good!  Can’t wait to hear what you thought of this recipe!

Regarding nutrition info on these, I will give you the info per batch of tot mix but depending on how large you make them, etc, I have no idea what the breakdown would be per tot.  Also, I don’t know how many calories would be added by frying them after baking since it’s hard to quantify how much oil would be absorbed.  To lower the calories, use half and half instead of heavy cream, and substitute a lowfat cheddar.  

Approximate nutrition info per batch:  864 calories, 63g fat, 18g net carbs, 47g protein

Our microwave is broken and as I try to never use the thing, I opted for stove top, which threw me off a bit.

What I did:  added the cream and butter to a pan, along with cauliflower, and then heated it all up together.

What else I did:  added more cream and butter (doubled it) as it was taking a while for the cauliflower to heat up, and I didn’t want to burn it all up.

What I will do next time:  steam the cauliflower separately and be sure to drain thoroughly.  While that’s draining, heat up butter and cream.  Add all three ingredients to food processor.

Since I do stupid things when I rush, I missed the part about chilling the mixture.  Please note, you’ll need to do this two times, but if you’re good at reading through recipes, you already know that.

While I didn’t add the heated cauliflower mixture to the egg whites, I had already beat the egg whites when I realized adding a hot mixture to it was not a good idea, and then re-read the recipe.  So the whites sat for about 20 mins, and I put the mixture in the freezer to hurry up the process.  I whipped the whites for a few seconds when ready, and all seemed well, thankfully.

Other than what’s listed above, the only other thing I should have done was use parchment paper, or at least spray the pan.

{instead of piping them out of a bag, I just used a smaller spoon}

Since my tots were a little too wet to start with, and as I wasn’t planning on frying them, I broiled them for about 3-4 mins to help make the tops a little more crispy.  As I’m the girl that searches out the crispest fries from a batch, you know, the ones that are on the verge of burnt destruction, it’s my opinion that frying is really the way to go.

I ended up only making one batch and froze the rest of the mixture.  Since these are more potato-like I think I’ll make a sour cream and chive dip, instead of using reduced sugar ketchup (1g/serving).

:: Would I make this recipe again?  Yes!

This sweet fellow stayed up with me most of the time, occasionally begging me to drop everything because it was past his bedtime.

::Happy sleeping::

::Low Carb Recipe:: Maria’s Protein Bread

A low carb lifestyle could seem very hopeless and bland if not for certain recipe-pioneers like Maria Emmerich, who do the work of converting previously decadent recipes into low carb friendly recipes, and hopefully without anyone noticing any taste changes.

I’ll admit I was overwhelmed looking at some of her’s, as well as other’s recipes, with these new ingredients (almond flour was the only “new” ingredient that had seen the inside of my pantry up to now).  It’s challenging to know where to start.

Well, let me help!

Maria’s protein bread has a simple enough ingredient list for low carb baking starters, like me.  The only new purchase for me was Jay Robb’s unflavored whey protein, and most of his protein products are carried at my local Whole Foods.

You can find her posting of this recipe on her blog, here, as well as below.

PROTEIN BREAD:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup Jay Robb unflavored egg white or whey protein
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Separate the eggs (save the yolks for a different recipe…creme brule???), and whip the whites for a few minutes until VERY stiff (I use a stand mixer on high for a few minutes). Slowly fold in the whey protein and onion powder if using. Then slowly fold in the cream cheese into the whites (making sure the whites don’t fall). Grease a bread pan and fill with “dough.” Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let completely cool before cutting or the bread will fall. Cut into 12 slices. I keep this bread in the freezer at all times to make sandwiches. OPTION: Make bread into 12 buns on a greased cookie sheet.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per slice)
White Bread = 80 calories, 15 carbs, 1 fiber, 3 g protein
“Healthified” Bread = 60 calories, trace carbs, 6 g protein
And here’s my progress through the recipe via pictures.

{“dough”}

{ready to bake}

{fresh out of the oven}

{sliced after completely cooled}

My only problem in executing this recipe to perfection was my lack of total cream cheese incorporation into the “dough” – and this is quite a challenge as they’re close to the same color. Next time, I think I’ll let it set out a bit longer so it’s softer, and maybe I’ll even mix it up a bit ahead of time before incorporating it into the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

{you can see the chunks of cream cheese that didn’t mix well. also left the top with a very meringue feel to it.}

Had everything mixed together, this would have been great bread, but for a first time, good bread isn’t bad.

I made a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, that was ok, as I accidentally skimped on the amount of cheese as compared to the slices of bread (it was a little dry).  Can’t wait to try it again with moister bread and more cheese.

{grilled cheese}

So, for now, I’m toasting the bread, and topping each slice with my very bland tuna fish salad (tuna, mayo, dill pickles, and a little pepper – I’m used to sweet relish, hence the “bland” remark) and a few slices of tomato.  Yummy!  The tuna really pairs nicely with the onion powder in the bread.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes!

::Happy Trying New Recipes::

::Low Carb Recipe:: Avocado Fries

both baked and fried versions of avocado fries – yummy!

I’ve seen avocado fries floating around Pinterest for a while now, but every time I look at the recipe it never fits into my low carb lifestyle.

This is an easy fix – almond flour.  Gotta love the stuff!

Tending towards being a purist when it comes to my food, I kept this very simple by only using a little salt in the flour to flavor the fries, but you can add spices, like onion or garlic powder, cumin, chili, pepper, etc., or even herbs, like a little freshly chopped (or dried) cilantro.

RECIPE:

2 unripe Avocados

2 Eggs

1-2 cups Almond Flour (enough to coat the fries)

1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (more or less depending on how salty you like your fries)

Toppings, optional:

freshly squeezed Lime Juice

Cilantro Dressing (I chose Trader Joe’s Cilantro Salad Dressing)

Bake:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake for 20 mins, then broil for 2 mins.

Fry:  Heat up oil (I chose olive) in a pan and cooked on High for about 3-5 mins each side, depending on the size of the fry.

half unripe avocados.

“de-seed” halves and slice vertically. then slide a spoon between meat and skin to separate fry-shaped meat.

a little assembly line action here – dunk “fries” into whipped eggs and then almond/salt mixture. I doubled the recipe as I made both baked and fried versions. Also, I prefer Cage-Free eggs and Celtic Sea Salt.

ready for fries.

avocado fries ready for the oven.

finished baked fries fresh out of the oven.

frying in olive oil.

flipped after they’ve browned nicely, to the other side.

the finished fried product.

I bet you could turn them into make-shift paleo mozzarella sticks by putting basil in the almond flour and serving them with marinara sauce.  My next attempt!

Would I try this recipe again? Yes!

::Happy Eating::

I’mmm back

Someone’s been a little M.I.A. recently … my apologies!

As if two jobs and a busy school schedule weren’t enough, add in difficulty in getting quality sleep and a dash of severe pain, and you’ve got the recipe I’ve been dealing with.

On the brighter side of things – I’m loving school!

I’m also my very own guinea pig, haha.  That’s sort of going well…  I’m currently trying 5-HTP for my sleep issues, via Maria Emmerich’s two health books (her blog).

Other good news:

– In speaking with my boss (the accountant), I found I can write off my tuition if it’s relevant to my current licensure, so… I’ll be a holistic esthetician by the end of 2012.  Gotta love direction!

– More direction:  I’m hoping to host a few gatherings with the youth group girls from my church to discuss skin health, make-up colors, eyebrow shaping, and our inner beauty through Christ.  I have a feeling this will be one of the most rewarding ventures of my life.

– Also, my organization project is going very well.  Slow, but well.  This is such a huge relief.  My goal is to be caught up by the end of 2012.

– Season 2 of Downton Abbey had such a lovely ending last night.  Roomie Wright and I were both “aww”-ing (and probably cheering) by the end.  I also enter this sweepstakes almost daily to visit the castles.

– Lastly, I’m planning a semi-regular gathering with some sweet girl friends to watch Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” mini-series and to craft (maybe attempt low carb baking, too).

Even with some needed down time, I’m so pleased with how the last two months have gone.

Now it’s time to break out my reading glasses and get back into studying, but I’m sincerely so happy to be back up and posting.

Hope you all are well!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s my boss’ birthday today – Happy birthday, H-dawg! – and as a surprise I made Chicken Tortilla Soup last night for today’s lunch, along with enough for him to take home and share with his sweet wife.

I’m low carbing it and he’s (and his wife) not, but it was really easy to adjust it to both tastes.

I used the recipe listed below.  It is very unlike me to use only one recipe, especially when I’m making something for the first time.  I usually like to combine three, so that’s what I did.

Meghan’s Chicken Tortilla Soup
(print recipe)

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
32 oz. chicken broth
1 14-oz. can corn, drained
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded into bite-size pieces (roasted deli chicken works great!)
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

optional garnishes:
fresh avocado, cut into 1″ chunks
fresh mozzarella, cut into 1″ chunks
chopped fresh cilantro
chopped green onions
tortilla crisps (shown in photos, found near the croutons and salad toppings in the fresh produce area)
fresh lime slices

In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft.  Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, tomatoes, and broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir in corn, chicken, and lime juice.  Simmer for 10 minutes, or until heated throughout.

Place avocado and mozzarella in the bottom of individual serving bowls.  Ladle the soup over the top.  Cheese will stay in its form but become melted and ooey-gooey…yummy!  Top with cilantro, green onions, and tortilla crisps (or Tostitos ‘hint of lime’ tortilla chips instead of the tortilla crisps), with slices of fresh lime on the side.

The changes I made:

  • I added 2 diced jalapeno peppers to the onion and garlic to be sauteed (from here).  Please note you have to be VERY careful when handling these peppers (unfortunately, this is from experience).  GuidelinesA tip from my roomie, Laura #2, is to use the grocery bag they come in as a make-shift glove.  Tried it, worked great!
  • I added 2 Tbsp. of enchilada sauce to the broth, diced tomatoes, and spices.  (recipe from here, but I lowered the amount used by A LOT)
  • The two additions above added a bit of a kick, and I wasn’t sure how much of a kick, so I only used half (1 tsp, instead of 2) of red chili powder. 

After tasting it, my mouth didn’t burn, but there’s no doubt there is something spicy in it.  Just right for me (and H-dawg), but depending on preference, you may need more or less of these three ingredients.

  • With 5 minutes left to cook, I added the cut up mozzarella cheese.  (it does clump a bit.  it’s probably best to add to the bottom of the bowl, as the recipe suggests)
  • I also made homemade tortilla strips by baking corn tortillas that I sliced.  Super easy!

To keep this low carb, I separated about one-third of the soup into a container for my consumption.  To the remaining two-thirds I added roasted corn (bought this in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s) and heated for 5 more mins, and then put into a container for my boss and his wife.

For lunch, he garnished w/ tortilla strips, and I opted for fresh cilantro and avocado.  It so fun to know how easy it is personalize this to diet and allergy restrictions, and the many garnish options available.  I probably never would have thought of mozzarella cheese on my own!

This will definitely make a steady rotation during this upcoming Winter!

%d bloggers like this: